Sketchup: definition, functionality and scope

For the creation of three-dimensional models, many people use the software Sketchup. The special feature: With this you can design your objects as if by hand sketches. This is exactly where the name of the software comes from. Below, we'll show you how to use Sketchup for 3D printing and what you should know about the tool.

The most important facts in brief:

  • Sketchup Free is available to you as a free version
  • If necessary, you can also switch to paid versions
  • Sketchup is compatible with Windows and macOS
  • You can design your own models by hand drawing like classic sketches
  • The software is available in German language

Sketchup: Definition: How it works and what it covers

Sktechup has come to fame and glory as modeling software in the field of architecture. The application allows sketching by hand drawing, so that any shapes and objects can be designed. In 2006, the company was acquired by Google, and in 2012 Trimble Navigation bought the software from Google.

Using Sketchup in the 3D printing process

For the 3D printing process, Sktechup offers you versatile options. You can design everything from buildings to life-like drawings to product design using hand drawing. You can also use various functions such as inserting your own images into the program.

Sketchup file formats

  • SKP
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • SKP
  • PNG
  • STL

Sketchup: costs, trial version and operating systems

We have listed everything important about the possible costs and system requirements for Sketchup in more detail below.

Cost & trial version

You can use Sketchup Free as a free variant. If you are working “on your own”, this is perfectly adequate. Sketchup Go, Sketchup Pro, and Sketchup Studio versions are also available for working in teams.

Supported operating systems

Sketchup supports macOS and Windows operating systems. Only Linux falls out of the picture as a known operating system.

Advantages and disadvantages of Sketchup in 3D printing

We have listed all the advantages and disadvantages of Sketchup in 3D printing for you below:


  • Free use of Sketchup Free
  • Pro version available for purchase as a more comprehensive alternative
  • Designing 3D models by hand drawing
  • 10 GB memory included
  • Sketchup Viewer app for mobile viewing of 3D models


  • Manageable selection of supported file formats


SketchUp is a true “evergreen” among free CAD applications. The software sets almost no limits to your creativity and allows you to create 3D objects by hand drawing. You can use the application not only for buildings and smaller spare parts, but also for lifelike looking characters.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions & answers about Sketchup

SketchUp is quite suitable for beginners. The free version offers a manageable number of options, which is especially beneficial for newcomers. Moreover, SketchUp is designed to be user-friendly and is even available in a German version.

SketchUp allows you to create 3D models by hand drawing. The range of applications includes building models, illustrations and prototypes. However, SketchUp is also used in product design or by stage designers.

Those who work intensively with SketchUp can learn the application and its use within a short time. The tool is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate even for newcomers.